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News and Commentary
STOP THE ISM

Poisoning People for Palestine? 

How BDS raises its funding through Olive Oil Fraud

 

By Lee Kaplan, Stop the ISM.com

 

Olive oil is not only a food product, but a commodity that is extremely valuable. This agency previously showed that BDS leader and ISM activist Paul Larudee has laundered funds he sends to Gaza under the false name Arlington Market, but, besides this, Larudee has been involved for several years in selling “pure Palestinian extra-virgin olive oil” he bottles here in America by hand by as many ISM activists Larudee can sucker to work for free for him to do so. He arranges “olive oil bottling parties” where he gets BDS and ISM activists (other Israel haters) like himself to work for free bottling the olive oil that he sells at street fairs and especially on the Internet to benefit “Palestine.” Larudee not only makes his living doing this, but he has also developed over the years a lucrative business that raises money to ultimately fund Hamas (not to mention himself and BDS) through the illicit sales of olive oil he claims is the product of “poor Palestinian farmers”.

Olive oil fraud is such a good business that even the Mafia has been involved in production and exploitation. Trade experts have stated that more money can be made selling olive oil fraudulently than can be made with drugs. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Larudee, who should have been jailed years ago for aid and support for terrorist groups such as Hamas , continues to operate his olive oil scam in blatant violations of U.S. laws. What’s also distressing is that U.S. law enforcement, from the FBI to the FDA has been feckless in doing something about it.

The Israeli government controls exports of agricultural products from the Palestinian Authority (West Bank and Gaza) due to threats of terrorism by poisoning. Palestinian terror leaders have tried on more than one occasion to poison the Israeli water supply so the Israelis take this seriously.

Despite his advertised claims that the olive oil he sells is made by poor impoverished Palestinian farmers merely trying to eke out a living, the olive oil that Larudee and company have been hand bottling here in the US cannot be what he says it is. Israel until recently, in fact, did not allow the exportation of raw olives or olive paste from the Palestinian Authority for security reasons. In addition, Larudee falsely advertises and labels that his bottles contain “cold pressed pure extra virgin olive oil” from “Palestine.”

Research into the olive oil trade has revealed that Larudee is more likely purchasing olives within the US market then bottling them, selling the oil as “Palestinian” olive oil to an unwary public. Industry experts advise that olive oil, especially the pure extra virgin kind is very difficult to import because it spoils within two days of the produce being picked. Likewise, any oil bottled at the growth site spoils during shipment by sea on pallets.

The National Olive Oil Association of America ( NAOOA .org) is the trade group that seeks to assure quality and responsibility in the USA while the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for olive oil standards. The USDA defines olive oil grading in much the same way as the International Olive Council IOC , but while the standards are voluntary in Europe, in the USA it is fraud if there is a claim of USDA grade on the bottle label or case.

Larudee deceptively puts on his labels “USDA Organic” which has a different meaning than most consumers understand. In fact, the FDA does set the standards for the USA which extends to using processing facilities that Larudee has consistently violated. Nor does he provide proof of such certification on his labels (probably because none exists). Of more importance, bottled olive oil is required in the U.S. to have nutritional information on the outside label . Larudee does not provide these guides among his many violations.

The FDA requires that bottled olive oil be processed in an FDA approved facility that receives twice yearly inspections by FDA. The   Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 ( the Bioterrorism Act ) directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as the food regulatory agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, to take steps to protect the public from a threatened or actual terrorist attack on the U.S. food supply and other food-related emergencies.

Larudee has been rubbing elbows with designated terrorist group Hamas for years. There are even photos of him shaking hands with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah and on another occasion his receiving an award from the terrorist group. Larudee was also caught and deported from Israel when he went there to meet with Hamas operatives, later going to Lebanon to work with Hezbollah, another designated terrorist group. More recently funds he sought to send to Hamas infested Gaza were frozen then returned to him by Mellon Bank due to suspicions of laundering funds for terrorism. The FBI did nothing.


Larudee with Hamas leader Haniyah in Gaza (above left)..Larudee gets a medal at a Hamas banquet in Gaza (right).

Larudee routinely bottles his olive oil in an old ramshackle house in Berkeley, California known as the Grassroots House , a shared meeting house with other radical and/or communist groups a few blocks from the UC Berkley campus. In the past, he sometimes did so from his home in El Cerrito, California. He prepares the olive oil in a shared communal kitchen in the Berkeley building with no FDA clearing for sanitation. His pro-BDS volunteers who help him wear no hair nets and there is no making sure they even wash their hands, or follow minimum sanitation requirements.

The Federal Trade Commission also requires truth in labeling for olive oil products, another violation by Larudee and his BDS gang. Mislabeling of olive oil is a continuing problem according to the FTC. FTC regulations state “The FTC and the FDA have overlapping jurisdiction to regulate the advertising and labeling of foods. Section 403(a) of the FDCA prohibits the ‘misbranding’ of food which includes labeling that ‘is false or misleading in any particular. This shared jurisdiction over labeling and advertising of food products operates pursuant to a longstanding Memorandum of Understanding between the agencies. Under this agreement, the FDA exercises primary responsibility for regulating food labeling, while the FTC assumes primary responsibility for ensuring that advertising of food products is truthful and not misleading.

Larudee’s olive oil bottle labels read that his Hurriya bottled olive oil is “pure extra virgin olive oil” when it is not. To verify this mislabeling , this news agency hired Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco , an FDA approved food testing facility. Testing just one bottle of Larudee’s olive oil cost over $400 which professional olive oil bottlers and producers pay regularly to assure FDA quality for the end user.  Each new lot of olive oil requires such sample testing .  In fact, such testing can be like playing the whack-a-mole game where one bottle might pass while others are not the same quality. The difference between “extra virgin olive oil” and lesser quality oil is determined by the acidity level in the oil . Cheaters who intentionally mislabel their products’ acidity levels are guilty of fraud according to the FDA and FTC rules.

In the case of the Hurriya olive oil test, the acidity level showed that Larudee’s product is not the extra virgin quality claimed on the label. Genuine “extra virgin olive oil” usually commands a higher price from consumers, about $20 a bottle on average. Larudee charges $20 per bottle for his product, part of the proceeds going into his own pocket besides helping to fund the BDS movement or generating money to be sent to Gaza and potentially Hamas. The test noted excessive amounts of filth patently visible in the bottle and that it was not extra virgin olive oil at all .

Besides cheating buyers of his olive oil, Larudee and his Norcal-ISM that produce the product are also cheating the public out of tax dollars due on sales. Queries given to the city finance and business tax collection and health departments of both the cities of Berkeley and Emeryville , Ca., require that sales be reported on a regular basis to compute business taxes owed. Both cities reported that not only does Larudee not have a permit to bottle olive oil from the city or county health departments (nor from the state of California), he has been cheating these government agencies and the public out of taxes due on sales. Other businesses are required to report their sales to pay city taxes based on those numbers that he has avoided for at least the last ten years. This also means he is not reporting those numbers to the IRS on a federal level. While his Norcal ISM has nonprofit tax status as an “educational nonprofit,” he nevertheless is required to keep records and report his sales when he is engaged in selling a product for profit in case of a necessary recall if a threat to the public health emerges. Larudee does not do this.

So here we have a booster for the Hamas terrorist group bottling his product in a non-sterile FDA approved  kitchen in Berkeley or Emeryville where he resides, misrepresenting his bottled product through fraudulent labeling and evading taxes to benefit the BDS Movement and himself. Larudee once wrote a letter about his pleasure at sleeping in the bed of a suicide bomber and stated he recognizes the Palestinians’ right to violence to achieve their goals .  Most people would not feel comfortable consuming a food product prepared by a Hamas apparatchik if they knew more about it.  Would you want someone who works closely with Hamas preparing your food?

California has just begun clamping down on misrepresented olive oil products like Larudee sells to fund the BDS Movement.  This might explain why he is now looking to import pre-bottled olive oil from a Palestine Fair Trade Association set up by the PLO to bypass scrutiny in the U.S. market.  Importing pre-bottled olive oil usually means the product will not have the freshness needed to assure proper quality as required in the U.S. market that the EU is more willing to overlook. The EU is also more willing to overlook misrepresentation of the olive oil product. The Palestine Fair Trade Association website says that olive oil will be certified as labeled properly through the “Fair Trade Labeling Association of Germany” (FLO), yet only a few lines later reads , “FLO has not yet developed international product specific guidelines for olive oil.”

One thing is certain: the likelihood of Paul Larudee and his BDS activists at Norcal ISM providing a corrected product to the consuming public is very remote.  Current U.S. FDA standards for bottling and labeling olive oil must be adhered to in the U.S. market for health and consumer products and Larudee’s using a shill trade association administered by the PLO government in Jenin is unlikely to change past practices of ignoring uncleanliness, mislabeling and tax evasion. Larudee has long violated U.S. Customs regulations also that require that bottled olive oil products as sold by Larudee’s Nor-Cal ISM to raise funds for BDS must say “product of the West Bank” (a recent political development since U.S. Customs used to require they read “Made in Israel”). Currently, and for over 10 years, Larudee’s bottles have been labeled “Produced by Palestinian farmers in Israeli occupied Palestine and packed by volunteers of the International Solidarity Movement in Berkeley, California.”.

By bringing in pre-bottled goods as he suggests he will be doing, Larudee risks bringing in spoiled olive oil because the transport time for the oil will result in spoilage. Despite being sent via “Palestine Fair Trade Association,” the labels also state the product is packed in the United States requiring the same permits, health and sanitation inspections and true labeling that Larudee to date has not been doing, not to mention tax reporting on sales. Even if he continues bottling the oil here and selling it, repeated violations of U.S. Custom requirements on truth in labeling calls for such bottles if imported to be destroyed on entry to the United States.

Readers are encouraged to send copies of this article to the enforcement agencies below to hopefully see some action with the change in a new administration coming in Washington. In particular,  U.S. Customs has a new e-allegation email system readers can write to electronically. A US Customs source has recommended this article be copied simultaneously to the reader’s congressional representatives.

1.U.S. Customs

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/trade-community/e-allegations/e-allegations-faqs

Office of International Trade,

U.S. Customs and Border Protection,

1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, ATTN: 1400 L-11 ,

Washington, DC  20229.

 Ph. 800 232-5378

2.California Dept. of Health re: Olive Oil complaint line

 

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/pages/fdboliveoil.aspx

 (800) 495-3232 ext. 5

 

3.FDA Compliance and Enforcement: http://www.fda.gov/food/complianceEnforcement/default.htm

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993
1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332)

 

4.Federal Trade Commission (labeling)

https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement

Bureau of Consumer Protection
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20580

Phone  (202) 326-2222

https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

5. City of Berkeley Finance Department Business Licenses and Taxes:

1947 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
TEL: (510) 981-7200, TDD: (510) 981-7250, FAX: (510) 981-7210
Office Hours: Mon-Thurs, 8:30am-4:00pm, Email:
finance@cityofberkeley.info

Revenue collection: Mila Serna, Supervisor
Phone: (510) 981-7272 ;

Business Licenses
Phone: (510) 981-7200
Fax: (510) 981-7210
Email:
BusLic@cityofberkeley.info

 6.  City of El Cerrito Finance Department Business Licenses and Taxes:

Report a concern:

http://www.el-cerrito.org/index.aspx?nid=127  

Investigations - Financial Crimes  

Physical Address:

Detective J.T. Wahrlich 
El Cerrito, CA 94530

Phone:

(510) 215-4420


UNDERCOVER VIDEOS OF BDS BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETINGS NOW VIEWABLE ON THE WEB: PASTE THiS URL IN YOUR BROWSER TO WATCH:  

  http://israelbehindthenews.com/bds-movement-inside/14626/ 


Read this important article from a reformed ISM volunteer:

AN ISM VOLUNTEER ACTIVIST LEARNS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ISM: HUMAN SHIELDS FOR TERRORISTS OUT TO DESTROY ISRAEL BELOW

Daniel Borg with Palestinian kids in Hebron

Daniel Borg is a Swede who was actively engaged in Swedish politics, passionately pro-Palestinian and went to join the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). His observations from within the ISM are explosive.

[Editor’s note: we’ve left this account in Daniel’s own voice so the English (which is not his first language) is a little idiosyncratic]

My Palestinian training, non-violence or violence?

Before joining ISM group in Hebron I had my training in Ramallah during two days. How to obstruct IDF ops? How to freely walk in a neighbourhood and alert the coordinators the movements of incoming IDF patrols? When to go out and show your presence to the military, so that they dont dare shoot at your direction? Shield a house that IDF want to demolish? Shield stone-molotov-throwing militants? Yes. Our job. PLO (now Fatah, but it is the same) uses well meaning idealistic western youngsters to aid, shield and make-possible their terrorist agenda. The Fatah-coordinators made it clear to us that ISM uses only non-violent means of resistence, but in the meantime stressed that if the Palestinians chooses to use violence our job is to shield them. It is the Palestinians that live under occupation and humiliation, not us western activists, so we should let them make the operational decisions and we internationals are there to act like human shields and protect them from the IDF.

We even spent a good amount of time practicing how to pitch-up extreme screams with the intent of scaring off settler kids. Our instructions were that if settler kids approach us and act violently we need to surprise them by screaming with the loudest of our abilities so that they get panic and run away. We did a lot of exercise in these high-pitch screams. If someone from downtown Ramallah reads this, I want to express my sincere apologies for your lost sleep during these days.

Committing Lawfare

During the first hour of the Ramallah training every activist gives the PLO coordinators a closed envelope of his name, address, family info, country residence, political affiliation etc, in case of arrest or death. They make abundantly clear that if I we were beaten up or killed by IDF it will lead to great damage to the state of Israel, great media coverage and of course maybe an end to the occupation. Since I was the chairman of the Social democratic youth organisation in my home town I was interesting and useful. If the IDF arrested me or killed me it would get headlines at least in Sweden.

In hindsight I understand that this is a perfect example of lawfare: With my presence as an international maybe the IDF won’t use the amount of force they are entitled to in order to complete a security-operation, and let the ones I am shielding go free (a win to the terrorists), or they disregard my presence and complete the mission with a possible end result of me being killed together with the terrorist. Also a win for the terrorists since they can use my death as an amazingly effective propaganda tool in international opinion.

I felt useful. I wanted to do whatever I could to help the Palestinians. I was un-afraid and idealistic. Then I went to Hebron. I actively chose to only do real pacifist work, mainly to stand in King David Street (Shuhada street) and in the IDF posts leading up to Tel Rumeida settlement. To monitor the Israeli soldiers present. A tough job, I thought, since all PLO coordinators, Btselem-people, random Palestinians etc. told me before hand that the soldiers are violent, throw stones at Palestinians, helps settlers attack Palestinian children, and what made me afraid, the soldiers occasionally arrest, handcuff and beats up ISM activists…..

How the IDF-soldiers acted

My first morning in Hebron: A young Israeli soldier was standing in his watching post at the entrance of the Jewish Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, where also some Palestinian families live. The soldier called upon a Palestinian ten-year-old boy that was walking up the hill to approach him. The boy was remarkably scared, and hesitantly dragged his feet towards the soldier. When the boy came up close the soldier made a move towards the kid. In this instant my heart started to pump faster since I was certain he was going to attack, but to my astonishment, he shakes the boys hand and put the other on his shoulder. The soldier started to speak casually with the boy. Instantly the Palestinian kid smiled and they spoke and joked for a couple of minutes in the July heat. I felt relieved, extremely surprised, took down my camera. Nothing here to film.

Yes I was extremely astonished. This encounter between the IDF soldier and the Palestinian kid contradicted everything I was being told and what I thought was the normal mode of IDF-conduct. Surely this soldier’s behaviour must be a very rare glimpse of humanism in the overall aggressive IDF, like a dolphin swimming in a sea of sharks. But no, it was not. It was rather the normal mode of conduct. I monitored the same group of soldiers from early morning to late evening, and their basic way of treating the Palestinians was that of non-interference and respect. Not once did I see anything that comes close to a violation. I spent three weeks monitoring the IDF soldiers, with my camera around my neck. There was nothing to film, no transgressions whatsoever (except Palestinian war crimes, but I come to that a bit later).

My laundry business

At one point a soldier made a move of his hand at my direction to show that I should approach him. He wanted to ask me a few questions: How could I work for Fatah, call myself human rights activist, while they just killed a gay Palestinian by tying him up to a car and driving his more and more molested body through downtown Hebron? (a few metres from where we were standing) I was pretty shocked. Am I getting human rights lessons from an IDF soldier? I said whitewashing, pinkwashing, he did not understand my point about the washing business. But I thought about what he had said. I did not care. Those that I work for are Fatah people, moderates, peace activists, even Jewish Israelis. The Palestinian Sharia law, however unjust, does not justify the Israeli occupation. Hence the washing allegations I threw to the soldier.

Here you have Hamas

The next week was slightly different. I understood that the IDF-soldiers were really nice, they treated me and all Palestinians with respect. During lunchtime I decided to go up to the PLO apartment and take a coffee. I stood with my coffee cup looking out at downtown Hebron, with full view of the Hebron Arab zouk. From nowhere I see two guys going out from a car, taking out guns, starting to shoot intensively at the market. It was several hundreds of shots. The zouk was buzzing with families. They started their shooting spree, everyone tried to ran away, I filmed it from the onset. Their shooting spree lasting so long that I had the time to walk up to our rooftop continue filming while the shooting spree continued. Here you have Hamas.

Afterwards I ran down alerted my activist colleagues, alerted the IDF soldiers, called our coordinators. The IDF closed the checkpoint. Beefed up all soldier presence. This was the first Hamas attack in the West Bank, their bid on gaining power after they successfully did that in Gaza. PA president Mahmoud Abbas instated a state of emergency lasting several days. The only ones being safe was the small community of Palestinians, Jews and us distorted foreign activists being secure thanks to the IDF checkpoint and security within the Israeli controlled area. I was actually happy that the IDF had a checkpoint there, guaranteeing our security from the craziness of Hamas.

The irony did not cross my mind at the time, that I went to Hebron to document Israeli war crimes but came home with IDF-humanism and Palestinian war crimes.

What I did not know about Hebron

During my time in Hebron I did not know about the incessant terror attacks against the extremely small Jewish community of Hebron. I did not know that Jewish residents are killed whenever they are not protected, children, women, elderly. I did not know that Israel has effective control of a very small portion of Hebron. I did not know that the actual Apartheid in Hebron is directed from the Arabs against the Jewish community. I did not know the religious and historic importance of Hebron, as the number two capital of the Jewish people.

More over, I did not know that those I work for, the Fatah-led ISM, actively instructs Palestinian kids to throw rocks at Jews, sometimes killing the victim. Nor did I know that when Fatah wants us to shield someone or a house from IDF-operation, it is highly likely to be a terrorist on the brink of committing attacks against innocent Israelis. This was the case of Rachel Corrie's last shielding-event. (Readers are encouraged to watch the video at the top of this page that proves the Corrie story is a Big Lie. Stop the ISM's Lee Kaplan provided evidence for the wrongful death trial the ISM tried to generate because of Corrie--editor).

How could I know? How could my colleagues know? We are immersed in the pro-pal false narrative. Fueled by CNN, New York Times, Le Monde, all centrist and leftist poltical parties in Europe, all our left leaning teachers, all our cultural establishment. Among many others. I got social, political, educational status by joining ISM, an anti – Geneva Conventions, terrorist organisation.


READ THE IMPORTANT ARTICLE BELOW ON THE ISM'S WEST COAST PLANNING CONFERENCE LAST YEAR. THIS ARTICLE APPEARED WITH PHOTOS ON THE CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY'S WEBSITE:         

                                 A NEW KIND OF WAR: A REPORT AND ANALYSIS


                                    ON THE U.S. CAMPAIGN TO END THE ISRAELI


                                        OCCUPATION'S WEST COAST PLANNING


                                                      CONFERENCE SEPT. 19-21, 2014  


                                                                          

A New Kind of War on Israel and the Jews Just Took Place at BDS Conference in San Diego: Something To Be Afraid Of


By Lee Kaplan


I attended undercover the west coast national planning conference of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation last September 19-21 in San Diego, California. The US Campaign is, in fact, the International Solidarity Movement , sometimes known as Palsolidarity, having been renamed and repackaged to serve  as the main nerve center for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel in the United States. Over 400 groups statewide dedicated to bringing down the Jewish state were represented.